Success in a retail business may mean long lines for impatient customers. When wait times can't be reduced, the situation can still be improved by adding value to the wait.

Flagship Cinemas, in Falmouth, Maine, has accomplished this by adding a bank of television sets along the wall where lines form. The screens are used to show short previews of coming attractions. General manager Andrew Poore says that on busy nights--particularly on weekends--the previews make the lines more manageable. "You look out in the lobby, and everyone is watching the clips," he notes. "Customers are surprised at how quickly the time passes. They hardly realize they're in a line."

The clips, which are changed about once a month, are an additional expense for the cinema, but the results are worth it. "Customers appreciate being entertained--after all, that's why they're here," says Poore. "It makes the whole experience more enjoyable."

Copyright 1997 G+J USA Publishing